World Energy Blog

Who's leading on Energy and Climate, Rubio, Cruz, Trump, Florina or someone else?

11/10/2015 10:07:12 AM

Recently several republican hopefuls running for President have made statements that give us a clue on where they would stand on Energy. The most basic stance, held by all of them, is that they would have approved the XL pipeline, while each of the Democrats have come out and publicly stated that they would not approve the pipeline.  Just about everyone feels that the Presidents decision to not finish the pipeline was politically motivated and reflects poorly on the rule of law in our country.  

Remember the economy is a 17 trillion dollar animal that needs to be fed, and right now it is suffering.  Despite the rosy numbers put out by the current administration there are some facts that cannot be ignored.  We have over 90 million people that are outside the workforce right now, we have almost 50 million on food stamps, we have accumulated over 19 trillion in debt and instead of addressing the problem we have been changing the rules.

Energy represents the industrial oxygen that fuels the economy.  In the 18th century that economy was run on wood and coal.  In the 19th century we converted that engine to run on oil and as we have evolved we have added other fuels to move the needle.  in 20th century we began the move to natural gas.  Along the way we have developed nuclear fuel, hydro electric, wind power and solar, but none have yet held the potential and staying power of the hydrocarbon.

So where do we stand today, the current administration which started out with an "all of the above" energy policy has devolved into an "anything but hydrocarbon" energy policy.  With subsidies, bad loans, and an EPA with a very big stick the Obama administration is attempting to use small scale energy producers, wind and solar, to tackle large scale problems.  That leaves us with more issues and less energy.

So where do the current hopefuls stand?

Marco Rubio:

"Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday unveiled his energy policy at the Oklahoma City headquarters of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

Before a room of local energy leaders and state politicians, Rubio said if elected president he would end the ban on domestic oil exports, reduce federal regulations and encourage states to take the lead on energy regulation and oversight.

'Our businesses need to be able to operate affordably and efficiently in order to create jobs and grow our economy,” Rubio said. “Our families need reasonable gas and electric bills in order to reach financial security. Working mothers and fathers need to be able to commute without breaking the bank.' Read More..."

"This (oil export) ban is a perfect example of just how outdated Washington has become. Lifting the crude-oil export ban will be an immediate boon to our economy," Rubio told the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association in Oklahoma City. Read More...

Rubio has also expressed that he would move forward on the XL pipeline and would move away from Obama's recent push using the EPA to enforce rules that would add cost on power generation using hydrocarbon sources.

Ted Cruz:

Cruz has hailed the shale energy boom that's occurred because of advancements in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technology as a "providential blessing" for the nation and for economic growth, and he has called on the federal government to restrain regulation.

"We are seeing extraordinary developments in energy that are opening resources that five or 10 years ago would have been unimaginable," Cruz said. Read More...

Cruz's ideas go beyond fracking. He is also for ending restrictions on crude oil and liquefied natural gas exports, eliminating the biofuel-blending mandate known as the renewable fuel standard and opening offshore blocks currently off-limits to drilling.

Recently Cruz was asked if he believed in "climate change" in one of the "gotcha video moments" he came up with a cogent, real answer that made sense.  You can watch it here, his main point is that the climate is always changing.  Cruz has also been very good taking on the Sierra Club and stating that the EPA is out of order.

His point is that when the answer to global cooling, global warming, and now Climate Change is more government control and less personal freedom that looks like a power grab.

Donald Trump:

We have attempted in the past to write a review of Trump's positions on energy but specifics are lacking. We have seen his twitter feeds cover his policies in sound bites. So we can assume he is a "global warming" skeptic, we can assume he is in favor of the XL pipeline, and would lift the ban on exports.  Interestingly enough on "climate" he is relatively quiet.  He hits global warming hard, even calling it a hoax. But he doesn't really try to tackle the "climate change" agenda. 

In a recent interview:

TRUMP: Oh there could be some manmade to- I’m not saying that there’s zero- but not nearly to the extent- when Obama gets up (and says) it’s the number one problem in our country, and if it is, why is that we have to do our and clean up our factories now and China doesn’t have to do it for another 30 or 35 years in their wonderful agreement, you know our wonderful negotiators.

They have much smarter, much better negotiators than we do, it’s really as simple as that. We don’t have- and that’s part of the reason I’m doing this.

So could Trump be in the game to be the chief negotiator on Climate, I guess he might.  So what does that tell us?  Perhaps Trump would be the realist in the camp.  If the world is going to try and do something on Climate, maybe Trump is convinced he can get the best deal for the Untied States.  Kind of like Obama was convinced that he could make the world love us because of his abilities as community organizer and great speech reader.

Ben Carson:

Like Trump, Dr. Carson has been difficult to pin down on Energy.  In fact the closest we seem to come is calling him "low energy". He seems to favor lifting the ban on exports and while he may not believe in man made climate change he has kept a relatively low key on the issue calling it a distraction.  On his website he claims that we need to be energy independent which has been a montra of the political class for decades.  What is not clear is does he intend to work with our North American partners or go it alone.

In typical Dr. Carson fashion, he thinks we should intelligently tap our own resources.

Carly Fiorina:

We reviewed Fiorina's energy stance earlier in the year, but we have seen some recent signs that she has given some thought to how to foster growth in the sector.

Fiorina opposes EPA’s WOTUS rule. Fiorina explained that farmers used water for their livelihood, so who knows better about their water, a farmer or a bureaucrat? 

Fiorina also disappointed Iowa ethanol supporters with her call to reduce and phase out ethanol mandates,  Fiorina committed to phasing out mandates “over time” but didn't set any specific deadline. 

"Government shouldn't be giving certain fuels tax credits, access to markets that is beneficial to one industry over another," Fiorina, the only candidate to accept the association's invitation to attend, told the growers. Read More...

Fiorina's position on Climate is probably best summed up the same way. “the answer to this problem is innovation, not regulation.” Of all the candidates, she has been consistent on this point.  She doesn't favor amending the constitution, she doesn't favor deportation, she is in favor of lifting an export ban, of increasing our natural gas production and we will have to see if she can overcome her reputation as CEO of HP where she laid off over 30,000 in an attempt to make the company competitive in a changing environment. 

In this campaign we are down to the dizzying number of 12 candidates running for office.  Understanding where they stand is next to impossible and ultimately it will be the one that carries the message the best that will win the day.  This is where those that have been in the public eye will excel.  Trump is a reality TV star, a noted author, and has an extensive business where he employees 1,000's of people.  Equally, Ted Cruz has been front and center with a filibuster that nearly shut down the government, he has been called names by other establishment candidates, he takes strong positions and he seems to know how to get covered.  Jeb Bush has the Bush name, the Bush money and the moderate positions. If he can make "sense" to people he may be able to get his message out.  However, his best media hits to date have been delivered by Donald Trump which doesn't say much for him.  Dr. Carson has been surging of late, making him the Trump target and the target of the media invasion. So far he has been able to weather that storm, calling them irrelevant and distracting.  We will have to see if that strategy holds up for him. Florina has been getting more and more coverage.  Of course as CEO she was seen on squawk box, CNBC and other financial channels frequently.  She is by means a shrinking flower and an excellent communicator.  How she will do up against the "deal maker' and the president of the Harvard debate team remains to be seen.

Of the other candidates we will see what they have to say.  The mantra of build the pipeline and don't over regulate will get lost in the crowd.  Those positions are all ready taken and they will need to carve out more aggressive stances.  Governors Walker, Jindal, and Perry all have significant statements on Energy.  Each have done great things for their states on a whole host of issues and yet none of them as yet have staked out significantly different or rememberable positions on what will be needed to be done on our lifeblood of the economy. Where they stand on Energy needs to be a focus and they need to make it bold.